What Keeps Us Coming Back To Golf
When playing golf, it’s often a wise idea to happily accept those good breaks. Your ball could have been heading out of bounds but a nice kick to the left kept it in play. Alternatively, you may have topped a 3-wood that was travelling so quickly that it popped in and then back out of the bunker. Either way, celebrate those good breaks - as you’ll have five or six bad ones coming your way straight after!
That’s the thing about golf, how much is truly in our control? We can account for the wind just for it to change direction as we strike our shot. We could hit a lovely putt that looks on line but the previous group didn’t fix their pitch mark so that bobble has veered it away from the cup. We’ve definitely all been in a bunker that hasn’t been raked properly. So, if so many things can go wrong - that are completely out of our control - why does this sport keep enticing us back?
It's a common joke among friends, or even an ice breaker if you’re playing with someone new, for a good shot to encourage the dialogue: ‘that’s why you’ll be back next time’. It’s also completely correct because regardless of ability, we always take that excellent shot home with us and use it as motivation for our next trip to the course. Steadily, after becoming more accustomed to this sport, that one good shot per round will turn into two, three, four - maybe even five.
Ultimately, before we can start to see improvements in our game, we need to continue to play golf, gradually improving. So, either during our earlier experiences or visiting the course now, what truly brings us back to this wonderfully frustrating sport?
With the help from the Golfshake Ambassadors, we explore why we keep chasing the dream!
That One Shot
While we have briefly touched upon this, it does deserve its own dedication. Hitting that one glorious shot is everything and it’s what brings us back - especially during our early experiences with the sport. It could be a drive, an approach, a chip or a putt. You could hit 120 poor shots but that one approach shot from 140 yards that leaves you with a 3-foot putt is all you need. That one shot that questions if you could potentially go professional… we all know one or two of them!
Matt Holbrook: “That one shot (some of us might be lucky enough to hit two or three a round, but all it takes is one). That one single shot that you hang onto that you know was tour-worthy and the only reason you’re not on tour is that you don’t hit enough of them. These are the ones that keep us coming back.”
Rob Treanor: “Playing well is a bonus but there is an addiction that comes from hitting great shots.”
Sure, we play for enjoyment and it’s also an excellent tool for socialisation. However, I challenge anyone to openly admit that they also don’t stress over their scores and the mental grind of wanting to constantly improve your ability. That’s the thing about golf, you’re kind of playing yourself. As I’m sure we all do, I know my records. My personal best, my longest drive (roughly), how many birdies I’ve acquired, etc. While many of us play golf to see friends and to benefit from the longstanding positives regarding exercise, we all want to get better and simply put, there’s only one way to do that - play more!
Mel Davies: “For me, it’s the challenge of playing to a decent standard and getting my handicap as low as possible. I also set myself yearly and weekly goals and try to achieve as many as possible.”
Matt Holbrook: “I love the improvement side, the grind as some might call it, the constant quest for getting better.”
We recently explored the negative effects that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on golfers and one particular topic kept cropping up: the social aspect. Of course, we want to improve. Yes, we need the adrenaline rush of a shot that is heading straight to the flag. However, without anyone to share this experience with, is it the same? For a large majority of golfers, the short answer is no. The social aspect extends further than the course too; sharing a beverage after a round to reflect on the day’s play is the epitome of what golf is all about - inclusion and togetherness.
Mel Davies: “I love the social aspect, meeting up with friends and having a good chat on the course.”
Matt Holbrook: “The friendships - all my friends these days I have met through golf, some a lot closer than others, but as I get on in life I’ve realised - in more ways than one - why these friendships I have made through golf have been invaluable and I thank golf I have some of these people in my life.”
Everyone has some form of escapism; people play video games, they go for walks, they go shopping, they spend time partaking in one of their hobbies. Luckily for us, we undoubtedly have the best escapism of them all - golf! The unique point centred around the escapism that golf provides is that you absolutely need it to be just that. If you can't switch off during a round, you’ll likely lose shots - and balls. It’s why golf is the ultimate escapism; not only do you get to remove yourself from life’s daily troubles, but you need to be able to remove yourself from life’s daily troubles if you are to perform well - did someone say Catch-22?
Richard Moore: “It’s escapism from the daily battles of work (and family) as it is all-consuming - if you can’t give it your full attention you may as well not turn up.”
Rob Treanor: “There is something quite spiritual about the game. The escapism of being on the course with friends or just by yourself is very levelling, in those moments only the shot or game you are competing in matters.”
Ultimately, above everything that has been listed, golf brings us back to golf. Every single element of it, too. The incredible shots; the lost balls; driving as hard as you can; chipping through the green; holing out from the fairway; sinking putts from off the green; holing from a bunker; internally panicking when someone screams fore. We could continue this list forever. As someone who found golf a little later, I am furious with my younger self. While we remember that one shot forever, despite wanting to improve all the time, regardless of playing with friends and benefiting from the deserved escapism from day-to-day life, golf is the reason why we continue to play this wonderful sport.
Andy Picken: “Heritage, history, sociability, inclusiveness. The thrill of the sweetly struck ball. The smell of the cut grass. The feel of the early morning dew leaving tracks across the fairways.”
What brings you back to golf?
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